By Tom Degun

Claressa ShieldsMarch 31 - A total of 478 elite male, female and junior fighters have registered for the 2013 USA Boxing National Championships in Spokane, Washington, in what is America's premier Olympic-style boxing event.

The event is due to start tomorrow, with the preliminary rounds set to take place at the HUB Sports Centre, and the concluding finals at the Northern Quest Resort and Casino, concluding next Sunday (April 6).

The elite men's competition will see 185 athletes compete across the ten Olympic weight categories from light flyweight to super heavyweight with the winners in each division set to secure a spot at the 2013 International Boxing Association (AIBA) Men's World Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan in October.

The event will see the elite men fight without headguards due to the recent change in the rules from AIBA, which means headguards are no longer used in elite men's competition.

The women's competition will see London 2012 Olympic middleweight champion Claressa Shields (pictured top) and London 2012 Olympic flyweight bronze medallist Marlen Esparza in action.

Shields and Esparza saved the United States boxing team from complete embarrassment at London 2012 - where female boxers made their Olympic debut - as they both made the podium at the Games but their two medals were the only two won by America, with none of the male boxers making it past the quarter-final stage.
Floyd MayweatherBoxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr won the USA Boxing National Championships featherweight title in 1995 when the competition was staged in Michigan

America's boxing failure at London 2012 is part of the reason why there has been complete reform at USA Boxing, with an entire new ten-person Board of directors set to be formed in the coming weeks.

The reforms will see USA Boxing align itself more closely with AIBA and this is already apparent with the 2013 USA Boxing National Championships as a general weigh-in will take place at the start of the competition for the first time ever.

The general weigh-in at the 2013 USA Boxing National Championships is designed to mirror the protocol for major AIBA events, including the Olympic Games.

In the last 50 years, the USA Boxing National Championships have been graced by numerous American boxing's greats including Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali), Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar de la Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr and Andre Ward.

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